Author Archives: Richard

A few coppice stools 

Here is a photo selection of hazel coppice stools I took at Wood Nook on Wednesday lunchtime.

Notice how the poles are bent and differing thicknesses when the stool has stood uncut for so long, there are some very old thick branches in there.


Here’s the next one for shaving, you can see the charcoal bag I’m using to collect dead and dry sun shoots for kindling. Hazel throws up sun shoots, new side shoots,even when there are loads of old branches which block out the light so much that many little shoots perish for lack of light.

An hour later, all flat and partly graded into the various useful items from brash tops to cover the stool to avoid browsing by deer, to deer parts and fencing poles. This one still needs to final big, low cut right across the base to encourage new growth from basal buds.
This is the regrowth a couple of years after cutting.

This one’s the best in the wood, I think it has a microclimate next to a wall, on a bank above the stream. Lots of good straight poles.


And here is the stream. At some point long ago it was partly culverted, I can’t think why in this rather remote rural location.


They made quite a job of it, but I think a lot of it has fallen in through neglect and heavy floods.

New for old

Last Sunday I went to see my mate Rod at the top of Bingley Five Rise, a staircase of locks on the Leeds Liverpool canal which is celebrating its 200th anniversary of fully opening.  Rod’s been blacksmithing for quite a while and has some great stories.  He was there with his bucket forge and a great improvement over his usual foot pump blower, a customised VW heater fan and a car battery.  Orders to Mr David Wadsworth.

No working pictures, sorry, I was in old fashioned mode with a swill basket of iron, so a camera was a bit if a no no.


As a change from the hooks and candle holders he’d been knocking out all morning, I’d taken him some real work, a stock knife to hook and a pair of tongs to adjust. I’ve had this clog maker’s knife for some years, puzzled by how it was supposed to be mounted with the 3/4 inch thread on the end in place of a hook. With several heats in the tiny forge Rod transformed the thread into a regular hook. I sharpened the hollower, as it is called, and gave it a test run on some ash.  Some adjustments needed, bit of slimming on the neck of the hook, and investigating why the edge leaves one if the raggedest finishes I’ve made for a long time.

img_1674

I’ve turned a new carving mallet, my old one was starting to delaminate. I’m not used to exotic timber so I’ve no idea what this is, but it’s got a good weight to it.  I’m using the mallet rather a lot, making the decorations on my new carved oak grain ark.


The tongs are now adjusted to close on finer diameters like nails.

More coppicing tomorrow.